Calathea Trivia Questions and Answers

a close up of a green leafy plant

1: What is the common name for Calathea and its relatives?
A: Prayer plants
B: Water lilies
C: Sunflowers
D: Orchids
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Calathea and its relatives are commonly called prayer plants.

2: Approximately how many species are currently assigned to the Calathea genus?
A: 20
B: 40
C: 60
D: 80
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The Calathea genus currently contains around 60 species.

3: Which regions are Calathea plants native to?
A: Europe and Asia
B: Tropical Americas
C: Sub-Saharan Africa
D: Australia
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea plants are native to the tropical Americas.

4: What is one reason why Calathea leaves are popular as potted plants?
A: They have medicinal properties
B: They produce edible fruit
C: They have decorative leaves
D: They grow very rapidly
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Calathea leaves are popular as potted plants due to their decorative leaves.

5: What unique feature do young Calathea leaves and bracts have?
A: They glow in the dark
B: They retain pools of water
C: They produce a strong aroma
D: They change color seasonally
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The young leaves and bracts can retain pools of water called phytotelmata, providing habitat for many invertebrates.

6: What phenomenon causes Calathea leaves to fold up at night and unfurl in the morning?
A: Phototropism
B: Nyctinasty
C: Vernalization
D: Hydrotropism
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Nyctinasty is the phenomenon where Calathea leaves fold up at night and unfurl in the morning.

7: During what season do Calathea flowers typically bloom?
A: Spring
B: Summer
C: Fall
D: Winter
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea flowers typically bloom in the summer.

8: What makes Calathea bracts more attractive than their flowers?
A: Their fragrance
B: Their shape
C: Their colors
D: Their nutritional value
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Calathea bracts are often more attractive than its flowers because of their colors.

9: What is the maximum height Calathea plants can grow to under ample conditions?
A: Two feet
B: Three feet
C: Four feet
D: Five feet
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: In ample conditions, Calathea plants can grow up to three feet in height.

10: What light conditions do Calathea plants prefer?
A: Direct sunlight
B: Low to medium light
C: Artificial light only
D: Total darkness
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea plants prefer low to medium light, similar to the shady floors of tropical canopies.

11: At what temperature range do Calathea plants thrive best?
A: 50-60°F / 10-15°C
B: 60-70°F / 15-21°C
C: 75-85°F / 23-29°C
D: 90-100°F / 32-37°C
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Calathea plants thrive best at temperatures ranging from 75°F to 85°F (23°C to 29°C).

12: What kind of water should be avoided when watering Calathea due to its sensitivities?
A: Rainwater
B: Tap water with chlorine and fluoride
C: Spring water
D: Distilled water
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea plants are sensitive to chemicals and certain heavy metals and minerals found in tap water, mainly chlorine and fluoride.

13: What is the ideal soil condition for growing Calathea plants?
A: Clay-rich
B: Sandy
C: Porous and well-draining
D: Limestone-based
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Ideal soil conditions for Calathea should be porous and well-draining to prevent root rot.

14: What is one popular cultivar of the Calathea genus?
A: Calathea ‘Beauty Star’
B: Calathea ‘Gold Star’
C: Calathea ‘Silver Moon’
D: Calathea ‘Green Leaf’
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: One popular cultivar of the Calathea genus is Calathea ‘Beauty Star.’

15: Where were Calathea plants first introduced as houseplants?
A: Japan
B: Europe
C: North America
D: Australia
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Calathea plants were first introduced as houseplants in the 1970s and 1980s, mainly in North America.

16: Through what method do Calathea plants achieve propagation?
A: Seed planting
B: Leaf cuttings
C: Stem cuttings
D: Division
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: Calathea plants achieve propagation through division, creating offspring from a mother plant.

17: In some Thai villages, what are Calathea leaves used to make?
A: Fish traps
B: Bamboo mats
C: Rice containers
D: Herbal medicine
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: In some Thai villages, Calathea leaves are used to make decorative rice containers.

18: Which caterpillar feeds on Calathea zebrina leaves?
A: Monarch caterpillar
B: Purple owl butterfly caterpillar
C: Luna moth caterpillar
D: Swallowtail caterpillar
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The caterpillars of the purple owl butterfly (Caligo beltrao) feed on Calathea zebrina leaves.

19: For what kind of climate are Calathea’s low to medium light preferences suitable?
A: Deserts
B: Tropical canopies
C: Polar regions
D: Alpine regions
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea’s low to medium light preferences mimic the conditions of the shady floors of tropical canopies.

20: What adverse effect can excess salts and chlorine lead to in Calathea plants?
A: Yellowing leaves
B: Brown leaf edges
C: Multiple blooms
D: Plant stunting
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: A buildup of excess salts and chlorine can lead to brown leaf edges in Calathea plants.

21: What native countries or regions is Calathea not traditionally from?
A: Brazil
B: Costa Rica
C: France
D: Mexico
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Calathea plants are not traditionally from France; they are native to tropical Latin America.

22: Why might Calathea be placed in bathrooms or kitchens?
A: They need frequent pruning
B: They require high moisture levels
C: They attract beneficial insects
D: They prefer cool temperatures
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea might be placed in bathrooms or kitchens due to their high humidity requirements.

23: What plant growth issue can be caused by both over-watering and under-watering Calathea?
A: Pest infestations
B: Sudden leaf drop
C: Root rot
D: Delayed blooming
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Over-watering and under-watering Calathea can lead to root rot.

24: What pH level does Calathea soil need to support healthy growth?
A: Alkaline (8-9)
B: Neutral (7)
C: Acidic (5-6)
D: Saline (9-10)
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Calathea prefers the soil to have an acidic pH level for healthy growth.

25: How are Calathea plants most commonly used by the Nukak people of Colombia?
A: Handicraft containers
B: Cooking herbs
C: Herbal medicine
D: Livestock feed
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: The Nukak people of Colombia use Calathea leaves for handicraft containers.

26: What environmental condition is a threat to certain species of Calathea plants?
A: Urbanization
B: Pollution
C: Habitat destruction
D: Overharvesting
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Habitat destruction is threatening several species of Calathea plants with extinction.

27: In what part of the US are Calathea plants grown outdoors?
A: New England
B: Pacific Northwest
C: Great Plains
D: Southern Florida
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: Calathea plants are grown outdoors in Hawaii and southern Florida.

28: What is the joint called that allows Calathea leaves to fold and unfurl?
A: Node
B: Pulvinus
C: Internode
D: Lamina
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The pulvinus is the small joint that enables the nyctinasty movement of Calathea leaves.

29: What type of light exposure can damage Calathea leaves?
A: No light
B: Direct sunlight
C: Indirect sunlight
D: Low light
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Excessive direct sunlight can damage Calathea’s fragile leaves.

30: What kind of insects might find habitat in the phytotelmata pools of Calathea?
A: Spiders
B: Beetles
C: Invertebrates
D: Birds
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Phytotelmata pools in young Calathea leaves provide habitat for many invertebrates.

31: What is a distinctive visual feature of Calathea leaves’ underside?
A: Silver sheen
B: Purple color
C: Spotted patterns
D: Hair-like structures
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The underside of Calathea leaves is frequently purple.

32: Why is distilled water recommended by some Calathea collectors?
A: It is nutrient-rich
B: It is free of chemicals
C: It induces flowering
D: It speeds up growth
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Distilled water is recommended as it is free of the chemicals and minerals that can harm Calathea.

33: What signal of distress might Calathea exhibit if exposed to too much sun?
A: Increased growth rate
B: Sunburn or dullness in leaf color
C: More flowers
D: Stronger aroma
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Too much sun exposure can result in sunburn or dullness in the color of Calathea leaves.

34: How are Calathea leaves sometimes used in parts of Brazil?
A: As fishing nets
B: To wrap fish for transport
C: As fuel for fires
D: In skin ointments
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: In parts of Brazil, Calathea leaves are used to wrap fish for transport.

35: When propagating Calathea, what must be done immediately after dividing the plant?
A: Fertilize the leaves
B: Plant each part in a well-draining pot
C: Expose to direct sunlight
D: Provide high nitrogen soil
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: After dividing Calathea, each part must be planted in its own well-draining pot.

36: Which cultivar is known for its striped leaves?
A: Calathea ‘Dottie’
B: Calathea ‘Freddie’
C: Calathea ‘Flame Star’
D: Calathea ‘Zebrina’
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: Calathea ‘Zebrina’ is known for its striped leaves.

37: How are Calathea bracts in relation to their flowers?
A: Less colorful
B: More colorful
C: Smaller in size
D: Less symmetrical
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea bracts are often more colorful than the flowers.

38: What is the main threat to Calathea species in the wild?
A: Invasive species
B: Overwatering
C: Habitat destruction
D: Climate change
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Habitat destruction is the main threat to several species of Calathea.

39: Why should Calathea not be placed in direct sunlight?
A: It can cause leaf curling
B: It promotes faster growth
C: It will lose its variegation
D: It can damage the leaves
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: Direct sunlight can damage the delicate leaves of Calathea plants.

40: How often should Calathea be watered to prevent root issues?
A: Once a week
B: Keep moist but not wet
C: When the soil is bone dry
D: Daily
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea should be kept moist but not wet to prevent issues like root rot.

41: What occurs when Calathea leaves absorb too many minerals?
A: Flowers bloom more frequently
B: Leaves turn red
C: Leaves develop brown edges
D: Stems become thicker
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Calathea leaves may develop brown edges if they absorb too many minerals and are unable to expel them.

42: How should indoor Calathea plants be positioned in relation to light sources?
A: Directly on the windowsill
B: Far away from any light
C: In low to medium indirect light
D: Under artificial UV light
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Indoor Calathea plants should be positioned in low to medium indirect light.

43: What common household location might be ideal for keeping Calathea due to humidity?
A: Living room
B: Bedroom
C: Bathroom
D: Garage
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Bathrooms are ideal for keeping Calathea due to their high humidity levels.

44: What measurement indicates the water vapor level suitable for Calathea’s growth environment?
A: pH level
B: Humidity
C: Temperature
D: Light intensity
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Humidity is the measurement indicating the water vapor level suitable for Calathea’s growth environment.

45: What do the Calathea’s variegated leaves display?
A: Metallic shine
B: Bright colors like pink, orange, red, and white
C: Monochrome green
D: Hair-like structures
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea leaves are often variegated with colors such as pink, orange, red, and white.

46: What kind of joint facilitates the movement of Calathea leaves?
A: Pulvinus
B: Ligule
C: Rhizome
D: Axil
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: The pulvinus is the joint facilitating the movement of Calathea leaves.

47: Which country is not part of the native range for Calathea?
A: Mexico
B: France
C: Brazil
D: Colombia
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: France is not part of Calathea’s native range which is in tropical Latin America.

48: What light damage can Calathea leaves exhibit?
A: Glowing edges
B: Brittle texture
C: Sunburn
D: Excessive thickness
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Calathea leaves can exhibit sunburn when exposed to too much direct sunlight.

49: What typical growth issue arises from incorrect soil drainage in Calathea?
A: Leaf yellowing
B: Root rot
C: Flower drop
D: Thickening stems
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Incorrect soil drainage can lead to root rot in Calathea.

50: What is the preferred temperature range for optimal Calathea growth?
A: 32-41°F / 0-5°C
B: 45-55°F / 7-13°C
C: 60-70°F / 15-21°C
D: 75-85°F / 23-29°C
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: Calathea grows best in temperatures ranging from 75°F (23°C) to 85°F (29°C).

51: Why are Calathea plants sensitive to tap water?
A: They require saline conditions
B: They need high nitrogen levels
C: They are sensitive to chlorine and fluoride
D: They grow better in pure mineral water
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Calathea plants are sensitive to chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride in tap water.

52: What houseplant behavior do Calathea maintain in their leaves’ movement?
A: Phototropism
B: Nyctinasty
C: Heliotropism
D: Gravitropism
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea leaves exhibit nyctinasty, folding up at night and unfurling during the morning.

53: What is one benefit collectors see in using distilled water for Calathea?
A: Avoiding chemical buildup
B: Increasing leaf size
C: Enhancing fragrance
D: Promoting faster blooming
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Collectors use distilled water to avoid chemical buildup in Calathea plants.

54: Which specific kind of plant family does Calathea belong to?
A: Fabaceae
B: Marantaceae
C: Rosaceae
D: Asteraceae
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea belongs to the family Marantaceae.

55: Which country is incorrectly listed as part of Calathea’s native range?
A: Venezuela
B: Guatemala
C: Honduras
D: Germany
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: Germany is incorrectly listed as Calathea’s native range, which includes tropical Latin American countries.

56: Which flowering characteristic is unique to the Calathea genus?
A: Asymmetrical structure with three petals
B: Five identifiable leaf patterns
C: Self-pollination
D: Vibrant floral scent
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Calathea flowers have an asymmetrical structure with three petals and three free sepals.

57: What specific part of Calathea’s environment is crucial for mimicking its natural habitat?
A: Sandy soil
B: High moisture levels
C: Low nitrogen content
D: Direct sunlight
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: High moisture levels are crucial to mimic Calathea’s natural habitat in tropical rainforests.

58: What is a visible sign in Calathea leaves indicating that they are being kept too dry?
A: Glossy sheen
B: Brown, dry leaves
C: Purple spots
D: Increased flowers
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Brown, dry leaves are a visible sign that Calathea is too dry.

59: When was the Calathea genus first introduced as houseplants?
A: 1900s
B: 1920s
C: 1960s
D: 1970s and 1980s
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: The Calathea genus was first introduced as houseplants in the 1970s and 1980s.

60: For what practice are Calathea plants particularly known among indoor plant growers?
A: Rapid flowering
B: Decorative leaves
C: Production of fruits
D: Height growth
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Calathea plants are particularly known for their decorative leaves among indoor plant growers.

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